Ed Leckert - Photographer

Ed Leckert

I guess you could say I grew up with photography. My father was an avid 35mm photography hobbyist, and my mother, while not quite as serious, could compose a mighty fine image when she put her mind to it. It was our vacations that usually resulted in the most photographic activity, and considering that we took driving trips from New Orleans clear across the country to Seattle, to Maine and Quebec, and even down to Mexico City on one excursion, we certainly passed our share of photogenic locations along the way.
At first I was given a cheap roll film camera to keep me busy, but I graduated to a 35mm at around the age of 11 or 12. That’s when the fun really began, because my dad taught me how to process and mount my own color transparency film, or slides. We’d come home from vacation and immediately take over the kitchen sink with bottles of chemicals, developing tanks, and hoses. Of course, New Orleans in the summer was not the ideal location to perform these temperature-critical tasks – the tap water was never going to be 68º F, after all. But we managed, and I only remember washing the emulsion off the film and down the drain on one occasion.

When I was a senior at Jesuit High in New Orleans, my English teacher asked me why I didn’t shoot for the school newspaper and yearbook. The truth is, it had never really occurred to me. So, I joined both organizations. For some reason, no one else signed up for the newspaper (the Jayson), so I became Chief Photographer of the paper by default and a staff photographer for the yearbook. I learned a lot that year, especially covering nighttime football games, where the low light and fast action made for challenging conditions.

Then it was off to Loyola University of New Orleans, where I joined the Public Relations staff as a student assistant, assigned to the university photographer, the iconic Russ Cresson. Mr. Cresson was a no-nonsense guy whose chief goal seemed to be to take the scraggly boys (and it was all boys up until then) who came through his doors and single-handedly turn them into useful citizens. And he was very good at it. It was under his supervision that I learned how to finally make a decent print. He did not tolerate muddy prints. But more importantly, he got me out of my shell. By the time he was done with me, I could walk into any event at the school with confidence that my camera and I belonged there and that my work was important.

I also joined the staff of the newspaper, the Maroon, and by the second semester I was asked to be Photo Editor, which really meant Chief Photographer. I held that position for three semesters until I left to become Editor in Chief of the school yearbook – big mistake, but you live and learn.

At no point did I actually study photography formally. I started off as a Physics major and finished my degree in Computer Science, choosing to spend the next few decades with a career in the software industry. But the photography was always there in the background, lurking.

Time passed, and I found myself working as a software developer at Getty Images. It’s very difficult to work at a place like Getty without being influenced by the amazing imagery that we see there every day. So it wasn’t too long before one of my co-workers encouraged me to put down the point-and-shoot and join the Digital SLR revolution. I bought a Canon 5D (I’ve always been a Canon guy) and a couple of pro lenses and began to regain my passion for images. I read every book on digital photography and post-processing I could find. Then I took courses with the Mountaineers to learn how to travel safely in the backcountry so I could have greater access to the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, where I now live, as well as other areas. And I started getting out and looking for images.

The images you see on this site are the result of the last ten years of chasing the light with my not-so-light gear. I hope this is only the beginning and that I’ll be collecting images for years to come. I’ll use this site to document my adventures on the road and on the trail, and hopefully you’ll find them as interesting as I do!

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